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Thought for the
A Thought for the New Year
February 2, 2009
A Perspective on the Miracle on the Hudson
The Governor of New York called the recent landing of the airliner in the Hudson River, and the subsequent rescue of all who were aboard, a miracle. Many newspapers honored this evaluation of the governor and called the event the “Miracle on the Hudson,” or words to that effect.
Some have since questioned the calling of this event a miracle, saying it was the product of a well-trained pilot and a well-designed aircraft. They have negated the reality of any Divine Act of God, and therefore this was not to be called a miracle, according to dictionary definitions.
I beg to disagree. I believe many things occurred during this incident. Certainly the wisdom and skill of the pilot are to be commended and the activities of the crew applauded. Certainly the recognition of the harbor ferry and other rescue boats, and the arrival of a helicopter for rescuing some from the water, are to be noted. The bringing together of all these things at one time could be considered a miracle.
However, I believe the real miracle was the ability of most people involved to give up their concerns for their own safety, for the safety of others. In many tragic situations like this, panic sets in and people clamor all over each other trying to rush to safety, even trampling over others in the process. This time things remained relatively calm. People encouraged women with children to exit first. People exited in an orderly way. When some began to panic, wiser voices spoke up, directing all to remain calm, and the panic subsided. A spirit of helping and caring for others first, seemed to become active, exemplified by the crew who made sure that all were helped, and then by the captain who remained on board to be certain all were out before he left the aircraft. People being concerned for the lives of others before their own--this I believe is a miracle. I believe only the love and presence of God can bring about such a spirit. The key for this miracle may have been that during the aborted landing many on board prayed. I believe God is able and willing to help us as we seek Him, and I believe He did that on this occasion. Let us heed the words of our presidents and pray, “God Bless America.” I believe we can and will see many such incidents as we continue to pray for each other and our nation.
Father, forgive us for too often explaining away Your work in our lives. Open our eyes to see what You are doing, and give us hearts of gratitude for Your great mercy toward us. Amen.
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